UK government Crime and police figures released today [19th July 2018] make disturbing reading. The BBC radio programme, “PM at 5pm” reported that
- recorded crime to year end March 2018 is up 11% on the previous year
- only 9% of recorded reports of a crime actually result in suspects being charged or summonsed, and
- this 9% figure is down from 11% the year before, and 15% the year prior to that
- murder and manslaughters are the highest for ten years at 701 [which excludes 35 deaths from terror attacks]
- there were over 40,000 crimes involving knives – up 16% on the previous year
The BBC asked the British Home Office for an interview but were declined; they did however get an interview with Karen Stevens, a Detective Constable who is also a representative with the Police Federation – the police officers staff association.
She said that police numbers [for England and Wales] were now down to 122,400 – down by 21,000 since 2010 and the lowest figure since 1981.
She stated, on air, that there is a 17% shortage of detectives, and that all officers are seriously overstretched.
Officers are literally having to stop dealing with one crime in order to respond to another crime report coming in.
Crime and reduced numbers of police to deal with crime is of concern to all law abiding people, whatever their political viewpoint.
But these crime figures are occurring under a Conservative government, and the serious decline in the numbers of police officers is the direct result of government policy since 2010 – noting that the Conservatives were the principal party in the coalition government of 2010-2015.
So we have an ostensibly Right Wing party responsible for a serious decline in police numbers over the last 8 years while crime remains a serious issue.
The Government pleads the need to cut public expenditure to cut the national debt.
That is indeed a Right wing policy.
Our country should not be beholden to loans from abroad … there is a risk to national independence, and that is a serious matter.
But to cut or fail to invest sufficiently in Security such as police is a cardinal sin for the Right.
National security is the first priority of government. Security against external threats, and security against internal threats, such as crime.
If there are to be budget cuts or savings, they must come from elsewhere.
To cut or restrain the budget on police or defence is not only to betray the first principle of government, but it is to betray the true priorities and concerns of the Right.
Yet the government maintains the pretence that it must target resources [well of course !] and that there is no problem [really !].
This last is presumably why the Crime Survey for England and Wales released today at
makes comments such as this:
According to the CSEW, most people do not experience crime. The latest survey estimates showed that very few adults (2 in 10) experienced any of the crimes asked about in the survey in the previous 12 months.
Personally, I find it disturbing if 2 in 10,000 people experience a crime – 20% is absolutely outrageous !
And it is outrageous that a Conservative government should be pursuing this policy in the face of the testimony of grass roots officers like DC Karen Stevens.
Governments spend public money on all sorts of questionable projects; but spending on the police is not questionable: it is an absolute and fundamental duty of government to secure us all in our life, liberty and property.
People are growing up today who only see the police speed past with flashing lights. The British tradition of the ‘bobby on the beat’ has been eradicated.
Yet the presence of the police on foot patrol is a tried and tested method.
It once provided a human face for the police; it provided daily contact with the local community, all important in gaining local knowledge and information on potential crime. It made the young familiar with the police as an authority figure with a human face. It gave people an opportunity to approach the police with their concerns informally – something which today’s 101 call does not encourage.
DC Karen Stevens made the point that many of those 21,000 posts lost were such front line officers. That local police presence enabled the police to identify youngsters susceptible to turning to a life of crime and discourage them.
Investment in our police is – inter alia – an investment in the citizenship of our young people.
Today’s tendency to make everything remote and digital goes too far. By all means deploy the benefits of modernity; but let’s retain what works from the past !